World’s first Global Active Cities to be recognised at Olympism in Action Forum

Six cities that have worked hard to offer all their residents the opportunity to choose active and healthy lifestyles and improve their well-being have been invited to the Olympism In Action Forum to celebrate their successes. Buenos Aires, Argentina; Hamburg, Germany; Lillehammer, Norway; Liverpool, UK; Ljubljana, Slovenia; and Richmond (British Columbia), Canada have been named the world’s first Global Active Cities in a programme backed by the IOC.

City of Buenos AIres City of Buenos AIres

They have been invited to receive their awards from new NGO, the Active Well-being Initiative, during the Forum in the presence of IOC President Thomas Bach, as part of the opening events for the Youth Olympic Games. Buenos Aires’ Global Active City strategy – Ciudad Activa – is one of the many legacies of the Games for the local population.

City of Ljubljana City of Ljubljana

According to Christophe Dubi, IOC Olympic Games Executive Director: “The mission of the IOC is to ensure the celebration of the Olympic Games, but also to encourage the regular practice of sport by all people in society. The Global Active City programme is crucial in our vision to increase access to sport for all and provide everyone with the educational and health values of sport, with a focus on young people. We encourage all cities, including past and future Olympic cities, to sign up.”

The Global Active City programme was founded by Evaleo, a sustainable health association, and TAFISA, The Association For International Sport for All, with the support of the IOC. Each city has embraced a management model that motivates people at risk of inactivity-related illnesses to take up regular physical activity and sport. In order to receive the Global Active City label, they each had to pass an independent audit with a stringent review of their physical activity and sports strategies and working practices.

City of Liverpool City of Liverpool

Regular physical activity can help to reduce the risk of a number of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, as well as a number of mental disorders. The Active Well-being Initiative (AWI) works with city leaders to help them provide projects and services that engage local residents who have or are likely to develop these NCDs. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that adults do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity each week, and children aged 5 to 17 should do an hour each day.

City of Richmond City of Richmond

Doctor Maurice Smith, Clinical Director from NHS Liverpool CCG, said: “The evidence shows that if you can get a population physically active, you will make huge benefits across a range of areas. In Liverpool, we worked out in 2016 that if we got 100% of the city physically active, each year we would prevent 400 deaths, almost 2,500 cases of diabetes, 140 to 150 hospital admissions for coronary heart disease, 50 cases of breast cancer, and 30-40 cases of colorectal cancers. These benefits far exceed anything you could do medically and certainly exceed all the screening procedures that go on.” 

City of Lillehammer City of Lillehammer

The Global Active City Standard was created with input from more than 70 experts in health, sport and social sciences; legacy and sustainability; tourism; and urban planning and management. The Physical Activity Exchange at Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool City Council and Liverpool CCG were development partners for the model. The AWI recommends that cities which want their populations to be more active should start by identifying key stakeholders and available resources, and partnering with local public health teams, community engagement leads and universities, to find out which groups are most at risk from inactivity, and least engaged, and how to reach them.

Joining the Global Active City programme enables a city staging or preparing a major sporting event to ensure a long-lasting legacy for its local people, placing people’s quality of life at the heart of the project.

During the Youth Olympic Games, there will be a Global Active City and Ciudad Activa Summit at the Usina del Arte, Buenos Aires, from 9 to 10 October. More details at: To find out more about the Global Active City model, visit or follow @AWBInitiative.

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